The Argument Against a Fourth Alvarez Term

Santa Ana City Council (Official Photo 2011)

With news of the Max Madrid lawsuit that benefits a Claudia Alvarez candidacy for a fourth term, we’ve received a number of data points that argue against Madrid’s efforts to help his ally stay in power.

Let’s review Measure D, which an outside counsel has already determined Alvarez is ineligible to run.

Measure D, oddly which was advocated by Alvarez in 2008, did these three things:

1. Measure D only changed the number of consecutive terms that a person may on the city council from two terms to three terms, before being subject to an 8-year waiting period.

2. No specific date langauage appeared in either Measure D or Measure BB on when this change formally began.

3. There was no determination that Measure BB reset the number of consecutive terms for incumbent Councilmembers when it was adopted in November 2006; as Measure D followed Measure BB’s model, there was no determination that Measure D “reset” the number of consecutive terms of incumbent Councilmembers when Measure D was adopted in 2008.  There is no ambiguity in the term “reset” as the term does not appear.

From the Santa Ana City Charter:

1. City Councilmembers can not serve more than three consecutive terms of four years.

2. City Councilmembers can only serve again as a City Councilmember eight years after completion of that Councilmember’s third consecutive full term.

Measure D made one small change to Section 401 of the City Charter regarding Councilmembers’ term limits: a number from two terms to three.  Alvarez was only thinking of 2008 when Measure D was drafted not 2012 or 2016.  Not specifying a “reset” of terms is more than likely an oversight on the part of those seeking to add an extra term for Alvarez, looking only near term and not long term.

Neither Measure D or Measure changed the City Charter to include any date specific language about when the changes began. As a precedent, legal experts point to the 1986 Measure G decision which added date specific language “Prior to the general election in 1988” to Section 101.1 of the City Charter that clarified when the city would be divided into six wards instead of seven 7 wards.

The only date mentioned in Measure D pertains to the Santa Ana City Attorney’s Impartial Analysis, which says: “the amendments would be in effect for the November 2008 General Election.”  No reset date. No data. No date. Squat. Nothing. Nada.

Alvarez was the only candidate on the November 2008 ballot who benefited from and was affected by the passage of Measure D.  Alvarez was first elected in 2000 and re-elected in November 2004.  Measure D’s passage in February 2008 allowed her to run for a third term consecutive and final term.  It’s well known she has sought a loop hole in the law for months and is betting the house on the unspecified “reset” language to allow her to run for a fourth and fifth term.  She is eligible to run for Mayor and most political experts in Santa Ana say Miguel Pulido would cream her in a head-to-head election.

We’re told outside counsel reviewed city law, county laws, and state laws to determine any window for Alvarez to run and the lawyers said no.

Madrid’s standing as an “injured” party is weak at best.

There’s been a big discussion about the hositle work environment allegedly created at the County of Orange by Santa Ana Councilman Carlos Bustamante.  Former Santa Ana city commission Tish Leon sent a letter to City Manager Paul Walters that suggests it is Alvarez creating a hostile work environment in Santa Ana City Hall.  Her note to Walters is below:

Dear Paul Walters:

I’m writing this email to express my outrage in the treatment of the City Clerk, Maria Huizar.

This law suit that Commissioner Max Madrid brought against her & the City is ludicrous. Many know that Claudia Alvarez is behind this action and that the Mayor is supporting her.  The shenanigans that they pull is obscene.

What is pathetic is the fact that Claudia Alvarez, has been bullying Maria to the point of creating a hostile work environment.   And she has been allowed to get away with it.

This law suit is the last straw that anyone should endure.  If this type of behavior happened in the private sector, Claudia would have been reprimanded immediately. However because she is a councilmember, she has been allowed to behave this way.  As the City Manager you have the duty to investigate this matter & correct this immediately.

As for Max Madrid, he should be removed from the Parks & Rec Commission, for suing the city.  And he has the audacity to ask that the city pay for this suit…Really?

Has he been living under a rock!! Does he not know the financial status of this city?

I have served this City as a Commissioner and as a strong activist.  I do this because I believe that the City of SA has great potential and a great city to live in. However, I am disgusted & embarrassed by the behavior of Claudia Alvarez & Max Madrid.

I am asking you, no I’m demanding, that you take charge of this situation.



A telling detail in Leon’s letter is Madrid is seeking the city to pay court costs and legal fees for him filing this lawsuit.  Should he lose, the city will almost certainly seek reimbursement of legals fees to fight the lawsuit.  Madrid may be hung out to dry financially.

What’s going to be interesting abount Monday’s City Council meeting is how many residents show up for the next chapter in the Carlos Bustamante saga and how many show up in support or condemnation of Claudia Alvarez.


  21 comments for “The Argument Against a Fourth Alvarez Term

  1. Claudio Gallegos
    July 11, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Dan, Notice how no one has even stepped up to defend Max or Claudia or speak to why this is the right thing to do. Of all the facebook posts on this, it has been nothing but criticism and scorn for Max and Claudia. Even former Senator Martha Escutia is ripping this lawsuit. The only thing we are getting from the other side is a post from Art ripping David Benavides’ right to freedom of speech and sock puppets on Vooice of OC attacking Max’s detractors. So is there anyone, under their own name, who wants to go on the record and defend this lawsuiot and why it is the right thing to do?

    • July 11, 2012 at 9:12 pm

      Did anyone ask Max’s boss, Senator Lou Correa, what he thinks of the lawsuit?

  2. sagirl
    July 11, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Claudio–You are still reading Art’s blog??
    I heard when you go to his blog, you get a virus???

    • July 11, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      I’ve checkout New Santa Ana a couple of times to see what Art’s writing and my anti-virus software goes nuts. Looks like its infected with malware commonly associated with visiting unsavory sites. The rub is there’s an ad fro a malware company of his site. Perhaps he should become a customer.

      • July 11, 2012 at 9:14 pm

        Last tine I went there it redirected me to NAMBLA.

  3. junior
    July 11, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    “Alvarez was the only candidate on the November 2008 ballot who benefited from and was affected by the passage of Measure D.”

    True that – but the rest of the douchebags will also benefit from Measure D – AND this lawsuit – if it is successful.

    I wonder how forcefully the council will oppose this lawsuit?

  4. July 11, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    @ Dan:

    As you identified above, the language is clear that Mayor Pro-Tem Claudia Alvarez must sit out for 8 years AFTER the completion of her 3rd consecutive term…there are no exceptions or exemptions:

    Per Santa Ana’s City Charter:
    Sec. 401. – Qualifications of members.

    “A person who [HAS SERVED THREE ] (3) [CONSECUTIVE ] terms of four (4) years each shall be [ ELIGIBLE ] for appointment, nomination for or election to the office of councilmember (regardless of wards represented by that person during such period) [NO SOONER ] than for a term beginning eight (8) years [AFTER ] completion of that councilmember’s third consecutive full term.”

    Max Madrid’s lawsuit is disrespectful of the wishes of Santa Ana citizens, and a clear violation of the current City Charter.

    Max Madrid has clearly filed a frivolous lawsuit, which will result in a waste of the court’s time and resources, and also a waste of very limited city resources.

    I thins this frivolous lawsuit is a knowing shameful and selfish behavior by Max Madrid.

    Setting aside Claudia Alvarez’s recent temporary lapses, some of which she apologized for, she does have some redeeming talents and an intellect that if properly channeled could result in service to the community.

    Whether she realizes it or not, attempting to seek a fourth term will make her a laughingstock.

    I’d rather see Mayor Pro-Tem Alvarez seek a term as Mayor and attempt to use her talents there and give the voters a chance to evaluate and decide, which is in her legal right to do, rather than attempt to make a mockery of our City and herself.

    Paco Barragán

    • July 11, 2012 at 4:26 pm

      Sorry – above, I meant to say:

      “I THINK this frivolous lawsuit is a knowing shameful and selfish behavior by Max Madrid.”

      • junior
        July 11, 2012 at 4:32 pm

        For a second there I thought you were going all Ricky Ricardo on us … just kidding.

    • junior
      July 11, 2012 at 4:30 pm

      “Setting aside Claudia Alvarez’s recent temporary lapses ..”

      You are much too generous to Ms. Alvarez Paco. I have yet to see any glimmer of the talent that you seem to think resides below the surface in her. She has been mean spirited through and through for many years.

      • July 11, 2012 at 9:19 pm

        Yup, I agree, Junior. Alvarez is about as sharp as a marble. She wouldn’t stand a chance in a race for mayor if she was the only one running.

  5. junior
    July 11, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Another argument against a fourth Alavarez term is that a fifth Alvarez term would likely follow.

  6. July 11, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    The primary and best reason for term limits is culling of the herd. If you’re any damn good, you’re going to run for higher office. If you stink, you’re termed out. It’s that simple.

    Alvarez is a dolt, incapable of reading a bus schedule, much less law. She can’t find her (substantial) ass with both hands. Be done with her.

    • July 11, 2012 at 10:03 pm

      Please don’t post under this name again; future posts by “Tom Mauk” when you are clearly not him will be deleted

      • July 11, 2012 at 11:22 pm

        I dunno, Dan. It sounds like Mauk, calling everyone else a slacker. Ask him how many parking spaces he uses to park his Escalade.

  7. cook
    July 11, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Let the voters decide.

    Measure D was for a 3 term limit, it did not add an extra term to the old 2 term limit. The old 2 term limit was replaced by a BRAND NEW law / ord.

    Let the voters decide.

    Voter intent: The voters intended to have a 3 term limit on councilmembers by voting YES, those who didn’t voted NO. The yes voters prevailed and Measure D became active with the Nov. 2008 election.

    Sec. 200. – Powers of the city.
    The City shall have the power to make and enforce all laws and regulations in respect to municipal affairs, subject only to such restrictions and limitations as may be provided in this charter and in the Constitution of the State of California. The City shall also have all other rights, powers and privileges which are not prohibited by, or in conflict with, the State Constitution or this charter and which it would be proper to specifically set forth in this charter, even though such are not herein set forth. It shall also have the power to exercise any and all rights, powers, privileges heretofore or hereafter established, granted, or prescribed by any law of the state, by this charter, or by other lawful authority, or which a municipal corporation might or could exercise under the Constitution and laws of the State of California.

    Note: “subject only to such restrictions and limitations as may be provided in this charter and in the Constitution of the State of California”

    The California Constitution forbids law and ord. from being retroactive.

    Why not let the voters decide who the want to represent them and get rid of term limits all together?

    • Cook's leftover brains
      July 12, 2012 at 8:14 am

      I speak following my immigration to safer confines than Cook’s compromised cerebellum. I mourn the formally healthy environment that has become diseased following close contact with the political cesspool of Santa Ana City Council.

      Measure D was clearly perceived, discussed and advertised to the community as an EXTENSION of term limits from 2 to 3 consecutive terms. It is predicated upon a prior existing 2 term limitation and was presented as allowing an additional term.

      This is political chicanery, a slimey calculated move by a disingenuuous and self-important politician. It is a sad reflection on Paco Barragan that he finds any redeeming quality in Alvarez, who was intimately involved in conceiving Measure D to extend her political tenure.

      The voters DID decide. First, deciding to impose term limits on Santa Ana Council to two consecutive terms. Then, under Measure D to extend those PREEXISTING term limits to three consecutive terms. The law does not provide for an extension to FIVE consecutive terms. I mourn my former brother and sister braincells who somehow cannot grasp this fundamental concept, or see in clear 20-20 hindsight (many saw it in foresight back when Measure D was established) the political calculus behind Alvarez’s aims.

      Finally, the concept of “no retroactive laws” in this context is a red herring. One cannot impose term limits retroactively when none exist, and then use the new law to bar those in already in office from running bu claiming they have already served the maximum term which had not existed at the time they were elected. This is fundamentally different from amending an existing term limit to extend limits for one more term. The difference? The first retroactively takes away someone’s rights by using past events to limit future options (i.e. takes away rights); the second simply grants additional, future rights (allowance of a third term) to previously existing limits (two terms) which were already subject to limitations (two terms). Nothing is taken away, limits previously existed, so no retroactive action by the law, thus completely appropriate. This is what the judge will rule.

      And I am sure that Alvarez has already arranged for Madrid’s attorneys fees, as well as someone to pay in the (inevitable) event that he loses.

      • cook
        July 12, 2012 at 7:05 pm

        To my leftover brains,

        I understand the sales pitch used to sale Measure D, “a one year extension”, but that is not what “D” did.

        I voted against “D” for two reasons, 1st was because it was not just extending term limits by one term, (now it’s becoming obvious to all with more leftover brains to use than me) and 2nd , I think term limits are a failure and should be repealed in favor of letting the voters decide.

        “This is political chicanery, a slimy calculated move by a disingenuous and self-important politician.”

        A valid opinion, but I don’t think it was illegal.

        “Finally, the concept of “no retroactive laws” in this context is a red herring … thus completely appropriate. This is what the judge will rule.”

        5 judges have already ruled on this red herring (the concept of “no retroactive laws”) 5 to -0- (SC-09-03 filed 2010 Feb 4 4:01 pm)

        “to hold otherwise would cause an unconstitutional ex post facto application of a term of limitation – in effect a violation of both constitutions. Any doubt as to the effective date of term limits should be resolved in favor of inclusion rather than exclusion.”

        If you voted NO on “D”, you lost 4 years ago.

      • July 13, 2012 at 3:40 pm

        @ Leftover Brains:

        You say,
        “It is a sad reflection on Paco Barragan that he finds any redeeming quality in Alvarez”

        My Response:
        I think I am stating the obvious:
        In my opinion the majority of the SA City Council welcomes any positive comments and seeks out praise; but at the same time, they generally tend to misconstrue any reasonable citizen inquiries and concerns as negative personal attacks even when stated factually and objectively.

        And although I have been an indirect recipient of a remark by Mayor Pro-Tem Alvarez mischaracterizing my actions or words, I have to remind myself to taste a little “humble pie” every now and then, and to not be so arrogant as to assume that there is nothing of value that can be offered by Mayor Pro-Tem Alvarez.

        If I were to engage in this hubris or superbia would really demonstrate and reflect sadly and badly on my part . . . and I would be grateful to anyone, including you @Leftover Brains, who would rightfully point this out to me.

        And I still hope, perhaps not against hope, that Mayor Pro-Tem will see to it that this frivolous lawsuit is dropped to save the citizens from wasting our very limited resources . . . and if that were not to be a priority of hers that perhaps she realizes the foolishness of that endeavor by Max Madrid, and how that would mark her permanently as someone who schemed to disrespect the citizens.

        Los ojos, especialmente los de hermanitas estan en ella!

        Paco Barragán
        Santa Ana

        • Leftover Brains
          July 15, 2012 at 1:07 pm

          Los ojos, especialmente los de hermanitas estan en ella-

          Paco, Claudia does not care whose eyes are on her. That is just plain naive.

  8. junior
    July 15, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    “.. I have been an indirect recipient of a remark by Mayor Pro-Tem Alvarez mischaracterizing my actions or words ..”

    That is SOP for Claudia.

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